Yeah, I've always eyed an HDS.
I think what I like most about them is the "retro" bare bones... late 1990's look to them. I honestly really like how they look...
The price isn't really where they lose me, it's the output (or lack there of) that has stopped me and continues to stop me every time I visit their website or see one of their lights in the B/S/T. 250 lumens max is quite ridiculous especially for the amount of money they are asking for the product. I guess for most EDC tasks that will suffice, but I enjoy having a lot more light in my pocket than that, just on the off chance I need it; with that said, there are tons of other options around the same size and price that offer double or triple the output and are also bombproof lights (much like a malkoff). Just doesn't make sense to me. But I may be missing something.
High output is definitely not going to happen. I don't know whether Henry chooses the limits based on Watts into the body/surface temp, purely LED temp, time on high, or what, but overdriving and letting it get burning hot are both no-nos. Malkoff has no such qualms. Unfortunately, lm/W has not been increasing much, over the last several years, and that's what it will take to get much higher outputs in HDS lights. Thing is, I can count the times I've needed >100lm for EDC on zero fingers. Generally, when it comes to that, I'm doing something specific, that I've had time to prepare for, so can grab another, bigger, light, that has more mass and surface area.
But, there are the lows, and programming. Few other factory lights can offer the level of customization you get with an HDS, and none of them are in the same ballpark, quality-wise, save maybe for the trickle of BOSSes (Lumintop and BLF drama comes to mind, plus the coarseness and hysteresis of most Hall-type rotaries). Malkoff, FI, has no programmability at all - maximum KISS.
Also, having owned and used both extensively, I have to give HDS an edge on toughness, over an MDC. Not that you should worry about the durability of one, it's just anazing how well my HDSes take - and deal - damage, like old Innovas.
Though, it's hard to beat the MDC pocket clip. McGizmo perfected it, and Malkoff offers it at a fraction of the cost, in a black HA that can aesthetically match various E-series heads. It's clear Henry is not a pocket clip guy, and HDSes would need a major redesign to implement that nice of one.